A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Abusers Expose Themselves: Some Early Warning Signs to Watch for

This post is written mostly from personal experience. It addresses a topic that generally leads me to start talking to myself:  “Jeff, how could you have been so stupid? Why didn’t you realize what that person was a long, long time ago?” You know that kind of self-talk I bet. But I think that we should also lighten up on ourselves quite a lot. The fact is that by its very nature, evil is extremely deceptive, especially when it is parading under the guise of “Christian.” The fact is that you usually have to learn the hard way. But we would all admit that if we had listened to God’s Word more closely and seriously, we would have been tipped off earlier.  At least in part.

Well, how can you spot an abuser early on? Here are some warning signs that are frequently missed and yet they are very, very typical:

  1. Telling you what you are thinking, what you were thinking, or what your motive was/is. And normally the thought or motive identified is not a good one! “You did that because you were angry at her.” “You totally ignored that person when they were trying to get your attention.” “You said that the reason you did such and such was ________, but I know that you really did it because _________.”  Reject this kind of thing. “You cannot read my mind and you do not know the motives of my heart. Do not make those kind of accusations to me again. I will not permit you to do so.”
  2. Offering to “help” you with certain personal character flaws that they claim to see in you. “We would be a really good team. I know that I would help balance you out.” Reject this as well. “So, you are saying that your motive for wanting to be on the team is focused specifically at me and your mission will be to fix me? That is a faulty motive. You are not a good fit for our team.”
  3. Evidencing controlling behaviors and words, often when no one else in your life says or does the things this person does. “I see that you are going to _________. I don’t like that idea. It is a mistake.”  Now, healthy and safe people can indeed say such a thing to us, but the abuser/narcissist will do so in a rather animated way, becoming more animated as he goes on speaking. “I believe that this is the right way, the biblical way, and you need to do it like this.” And you find yourself thinking or feeling, “this guy’s animation and zeal for such a minor point is just plain weird.”  In Christian circles, such a person will even tack on God’s name and supposed authority to his own position.  “Do it my way or God will judge you.”
  4. Changing and altering history. You are quite sure that you heard him say or saw him do something, but even a very short time later when you bring it up, he not only denies it but acts as if he has absolutely no memory of the event ever happening.
  5. Blame-shifting. Abusers, you remember, are never wrong. They will make you feel, the longer you are around them, that you are always the guilty one. After a time if you try to recall an incident in which they honestly admitted fault, your list will be very short if not non-existent.
  6. Criticizing you in front of other people, thus working to gain them as allies on his side and plant doubt about you in their minds.
  7. Often reminding you of past incidents in which they have already accused you of having sinned or being wrong. I have personally had wicked people do this very thing, claiming that they clearly remembered something that allegedly happened 15 years before, based on the very barest of evidence. The fact is that they actually invent these incidents and in reality, they never happened at all. But abusers are very, very good at feigning absolute sincerity and thus making you think that they must be right.  They aren’t.
  8. Playing the victim. They will hear a sound, biblical sermon series or lesson and they will walk away having twisted it into applying to YOU, not to them, when in fact the Scripture very obviously exposes their own sin.  They will attack and revile, and when you call them on it they will instantly feign being “hurt” and morph into the victim role.
  9. If they are a man, they will often evidence a mentality that men are inherently superior to women. This attitude will often come across as supposed “humor,” but we must reject it as not being funny at all. At other times, if the abuser is a professing Christian, watch for warped views on roles in marriage.
  10. A too-good-to-be-true image, especially in Christian circles. The perfect, biblical marriage. Perfect obedient children. Nobody is perfect, and those who appear to be are suspect.

The list goes on, but these are all signs that I have seen in abusers very early on in my acquaintance with them. I just didn’t have the wisdom to realize what these indicators were telling me. I found out the hard way.

I am wiser now. I hope you all are too.

36 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    Yes to all at one time or another. #2 Rather than try to fix-me, he would laugh at me as if I were stupid if I couldn’t do something that he could. He was superior and I was a lowly worm that needed his guidance.#4 His expertise in altering history is amazing. Things that never happened did, things that did happen didn’t. #5 Blame shifting went right alone with #4. The things that he did were someone elses fault. He wouldn’t have done_____if I/or one of the children would have or wouldn’t have done_____. $6 This he would do behind my back so I would not know until much later when someone would say, “Wow, Brenda you aren’t like he said at all”. hmmmmmm #9 Yep. “I do more by mistake, than you do on purpose”. That was his put down, “I do more than you”. I eventually changed the statement in my mind to, “You make more mistakes”: I never said it to him, but it made me feel better. #10. I wasn’t allowed to be in Christian circles long enough to think we were too good to be true, but everyone thought he was so charming until I left, then some started seeing through him.

    Ps Jeff this is a list to have around if I ever decide to date again. After each date, take out the list and scrutinize the event. Perhaps memorize it before hand. I am in no way planning on doing such a crazy thing, but I keep getting told that I will eventually. I would really rather kiss a moose.

  2. Suzanne

    Number 4 drives me nuts. How can you have a discussion about something the guilty party denies ever happened? That alone is reason to go no contact. If you continue to allow such dishonesty in your life you’ll never have peace.

    • thepooh62

      I agree, Suzanne. Sometimes I waffle between whether he does this because he’s mentally ill and really can’t remember what he said or did, or if he’s trying to convince ME I’m psychotic and hearing things. Either way, it’s maddening.

      • Hi thepooh62, if you haven’t already, you might like to read Lundy Bancroft’s exposure of the myth that abuse is caused by mental illness. In his book Why Does He DO That? [affiliate link] Lundy says on p. 38:

        The great majority of my clients [abusive men in behaviour change programs] over the years have been psychologically “normal”. Their minds work logically; they understand cause and effect; they don’t hallucinate. Their perceptions of most life circumstances are reasonably accurate. They get good reports at work; they do well in school or trainign programs; and no one other than their partners — and their children — thinks there is anything wrong with them. Their value system is unhealthy, not their psychology.

        The index in Lundy’s book has several entries for mental illness in abusers. It’s worth reading all of them.

        You might also like to look at our tag for mental illness in abusers.

      • NotHeard

        Dr George Simon has some very good information on gaslighting; how abusers use it to make their victims feel confused and not trust their own judgement or their gut feeling. ‘Gaslighting’ and ‘gas lighting revisited’ on the Counselling Resource website. It also has good articles on lying and many other manipulation techniques. Well worth a look.

      • Here is the link to Dr Simon’s article on Gaslighting
        http://counsellingresource.com/features/2011/11/08/gaslighting/

        And here is Dr Simon’s article on Lying
        http://counsellingresource.com/features/2009/03/04/lying-ultimate-manipulation-tactic/

      • thepooh62

        Hi, Barbara, and thank you. I would love to read that book, but doing so would mean I must order it, and he manages to find out about everything. I mean EVERYTHING. He even knows about the other books I ordered years ago and hide in my undies drawer, and sneers that I love to make myself out to be a “victim.” I wish these men would realize that if they truly loved their wives in the way that God wanted them to, there would be no sneaking to buy books on abuse and hiding them in one’s drawers…

      • thepooh62, would you like me to order a copy and send it to an address that is safe for you? Email me if you wish.

        Alternatively you may be able to borrow it from the local library.

        I have heard that some victims use their local domestic abuse support services as a place they get mail sent to. That way, the abuser does not see it, and she can read it at the agency, when she can get there. A friend may also be willing to be a safe postal address for the victim, and a place where the victim can read, without having to hide the book in her own house.

        There are lots of ways to skin a cat, as they say!

  3. Sasanka

    Pastor Jeff,
    these signs are very true and I recognized a few in my marriage, wish I did before the fact!! But funny, reading them also gave me some very mixed feelings and uneasiness! Let me explain..
    When I saw point one…I recall saying this very thing MANY TIMES to him!!! Example: “You said that your reason for being always late for my appointments is that you are simply forgetting..but I know that you really do it because you don’t actually care about me being on time for my appointments, you won’t ever miss yours!” I only figured out Anti’s bad intent after 5-6 years of marriage, I thought he was just clueless or troubled. etc…and I would confront him this way then, to expose the lie, and show that I’m SEEING it.

    Point two.. I would “offer help” , print out articles about manipulative behavior, character, marriage..so we can read them together and discuss, get to the bottom of things and resolve repeated problems…and I would do it as gently and respectfully as possible, but he would usually dismiss me, sometimes get angry, call me names, lie, say he doesn’t have time, not interested etc…and continue right on sabotaging me/kids, causing lots of stress/ loss. I still thought that we both have “a good will” towards the marriage..

    Point six, I would also criticize him to others like my best girlfriend and to you, guys, to vent and get clarity and validation. And to get Allies! There was also a couple open conflicts in front of his parents, criticizing /confronting.
    Yes, this ordeal changed me temporarily to a weaker/worse person. But I also know, now more than ever, thank you Jesus, who I really am. I’m weak, but not evil. I’m slipping but not a predator. The article brought on some painful conscience sting. But I know..

    Fighting in self-defense to survive emotionally and physically, is not the same as fighting to hurt and exploit another person. That is the difference between REACTIVE and PREDATORY anger. Wonderful education from Dr. Simon. However, it still does not absolve me from responsibility for my own reactions. Abuse from pain is still abusive.(Being impatient, yelling sometimes, criticizing rather than gently correcting at times..are my abusive crimes). And this is my biggest fear. More than anything under this Sun I hope and want to be a good mommy. It is truly hard to consistently do that when you are daily fighting to survive as a person. Husband is someone needed to give love and support not to tear you down. But the kids are the sweet reward the Lord entrusted to me, the beautiful silver lining on this black cloud :). Now, dear friends, I am much calmer, patient, and I’m more of the old me, which in turn makes me a better mom! Because I GAVE UP the lost battle for this marriage and instead focus on me and the children and future, so liberating, thank you Lord.

    • AJ

      Great job Pastor Jeff. Not sure if I will risk dating again but helpful for my daughters! Another tip I find helpful is to think about what he protects. Is it you and your kids? Is it control, image or only himself. He may say he loves you but whatever he is protective of is his true love.
      Blessings,
      AJ

      • Jeff Crippen

        Right on AJ! Excellent point.

  4. sylvia

    i wanted to state that i really love this site it is very encouraging to me. but i do have to state that spotting an abuser is very difficult. it has taken me 25 years. i was not raised in the church my husband was he knew all the right words and behavior. he is a pretender, a fake. he morphed himself into being what i wanted so i would marry him and yes i thought i would be sinning against God if i divorced him. my husband only showed signs of who he was after one year of marriage but still alot hidden. because he has made so many terrible and bad decisions he wound up working in Alaska for a number of years. this is when i slowing began to see the real person. and all the real beliefs and his words came out of his heart. such horrible blackness it all had been hidden from me. i have beat myself up over and over how could i not see. but how could i he was cleverly disquised and masked. he did it all on purpose he learned from the church to manipulate,lie,deceive and fraud to get what he wants. oh he is a professing christian he got his easy ticket so if he doesnt do certain things he is ok. but love GOD , his wife and children different story. he is what is known as passive-aggressive. it is covert aggressive. in others words he was abused as a child so his angry is hidden aggression. you get to be tormented abused and neglected for what his parents did or not do. took me 22 years to figure out this bizzare behavior which noone in the church knows about. my husband did not show any signs while we were dating or engaged at all. maybe just the victim part that his first wife committed adultery. except that he pushed into the arms of other men. but two wrongs dont make a right. his views on marriage are totally weird he did not tell me any of this till long after marriage they have slowly seeped out. he is coming home now for good but i am not holding my breath that he has changed.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Sylvia. Those are very good, and very typical insights that, as you say, most typically take us many years to learn. These “Christian” abusers who hide in the church are the worst kind.

    • YEs Sylvia, spotting an abuser is very difficult. And some are even harder to spot than others. Sounds like yours was one of the harder ones.

      He is coming home now for good

      I hope you are safe!
      And please don’t beat yourself up about not having spotted him. He did the manipulation; he was the one who crafted the false persona. You were the target of the spider: you did not choose to fly into a sticky web, you thought he was a good guy.

    • . . . he was abused as a child so his anger is hidden aggression. You get to be tormented abused and neglected for what his parents did or not do.

      That is another of the myths that Lundy exposes in his book, pp 25-7:

      Multiple research studies have examined the question of whether men who abuse women tend to be survivors of childhood abuse, and the link has turned out to be weak . . . a bad childhood doesn’t cause a man to become an abuser, but it can contribute to making a man who is abusive especially dangerous.

      . . . I have sometimes said to a client: “If you are so in touch with your feelings from your abusive childhood, then you should know what abuse feels like. You should be able to remember how miserable it was to be cut down to nothing, to be put in fear, to be told that the abuse is your own fault. You should be less likely to abuse a woman, not more so, from having been through it.” Once I make this point, he generally stops mentioning his terrible childhood; he only wants to draw attention to if if it’s an excuse to stay the same, not if it’s a reason to change.

  5. Brenda R

    My X abuser just called me in his very angry voice. I am not really sure that I should say X abuser, the marriage is dissolved, but he remains abusive. I cut off all of his means of contacting me via email. I had left one open for emergencies, but he would not accept my boundaries so I finally said enough is enough–no contact whatsoever. (I know Barb. This should have been done a long time ago and I have been trying.) He was angry because I hadn’t responded to his email and what was he going to do with my antique dressing table because all it was doing was collecting dust. I have told him on several occasions that I have no room for it in my small apartment and once again said that he should do with it as he saw fit. His only means of control left is threatening to get rid of my belongings, which he has been doing for over a year now little by little. Bringing me broken or damaged items that he “knew I would want” has been happening on occasion, but he gets rid of the things that I did want.

    My body is tied up in knots at the moment. I expect he will show up at my door at some point soon. I am waiting for a call from my Dr. office. It appears that I am having an MS relapse and I really don’t need the X’s abuse today. I know that the Lord will not put on you more than you can take, but today I am asking, “really Lord, my plate is getting a little full here”.

    • Praying for you, Brenda R. 🙂

      • Brenda R

        There was no doubt in my mind, Barb. X did not show up at my door tonight. Praise the Lord and hallelujah!!

  6. nessa3

    Churches use this as well….God is the one who appoints those in leadership, and your to obey them or your going against God. Also we’ve been doing this a lot longer than you so we hear and discern Gods voice better.

    • Brenda R

      nessa3,
      What a bunch of hoohah!

  7. Amy

    Great list! If only we get our feet to move and run far away from abusive people, but I saw so many signs that my ex was abusive and still stayed 20 years!

    Re: #3 — my ex used to say to me, “well, if you did ‘such and such’ like a normal person then that wouldn’t happen” or he would stand and watch me struggle with something instead of offering to help and then would say, “well, if you insist on doing it your way…”

    And if I said ‘I’m sorry’ (and I apologized waaaaay too often for things that I didn’t even need to but did because he made me feel I was wrong ;( ) — his favorite thing to say back to me was, “yes, you ARE sorry” without looking at me and then going on to ignore me rest of the day.

    And to think I stayed with that a–hole for 20 years of my life — what a waste. But I’m certainly not sorry now. LOL

    • thepooh62

      Glad you finally got free, Amy! I’ve heard that line SO many times. I’m a serial apologizer myself…I’ve realized that even if someone else bumps into ME in a store, I’m the one to say, “Sorry!” Maybe we get to feeling sorry we even take up a bit of space so someone is even ABLE to bump into us?

      Mine has a favorite: “You never said you were sorry!” (for anything I actually did wrong). But, his idea of my being “sorry” was never to sincerely apologize, repent, and try to change…it’s like he expected me to grovel at his feet forever in adoration that such a wonderful man would even put up with the likes of my wretched self. It was like I OWED him some eternal debt.

      If only these men could see themselves as God must see them, and realize that in His eyes, we are ALL sinners, and they are NOT supreme, righteous beings with a free pass to squash down a woman till she feels as small as a bug.

  8. Fiona

    I had all of those, and I would like to add that you should always play close attention to how they treat/talk about their mother and women in general. Even how they talk about past relationships is a good indication.

    My ex borderline personality disorder, addicted to sex and porn “Christian” guy did all of this, was so charming on Sunday’s, so not the rest of the week. He physically, mentally, spiritually, sexually abused me for 17 years, whenever I attempted to leave he would outline list of my faults so that I would think no one else would have me (like I care to be with anyone now?) and that it was my penance for my faults. I made a few bad choices, led and encouraged by my now ex husband to have an affair (never actually had sex with the guy, it was an emotional attachment). To his mind everything he had done to me was now cancelled out by my big huge ‘affair’ and I bought into that for a time as well. I cut it off but the damage was done. Eventually I read somewhere that “God didn’t put you on this earth to be unhappy, you were meant for happiness” and my life changed, I had my epiphany and began the 2 year painful process of renewing my self-esteem, praying (I felt God wouldn’t listen to me before, because I was unworthy), and gathering up the courage to tell him I wanted a divorce. I was nearly killed that night, and he pretended to try kill himself to get sympathy, I was resolute! The fact is though, I would have been more free dead by that point so was no longer afraid of anything except living one more minute with him. My story.

    • Thanks Fiona, and welcome to the blog! 🙂

    • And I agree that it’s worth paying attention to how a man talks about his mother and his sisters. At the same time, like all these signs, the way he talks about his female relatives may not always indicate whether he is abusive. My second husband talked about defending his sister against her abusive partner. I thought he was such a great guy for standing up and protecting his sister from that bully! He talked a lot about how awful male violence against women was, and how women were never to blame when they were abused by their partners. He agreed so strongly with me that victim blaming was a terrible thing, and was grievously widespread in society.
      I now realise, in retrospect, that he had quite a few traits of the Mr Sensitive type of abuser which Lundy describes on p 88-91 of his book Why Does He Do That. If I had re-read that chapter very carefully when I was falling in love with that man, I may not have ever married him. But I can only say this in hindsight; who knows whether I would have been astute enough at the time, even with Lundy’s guidance? I wanted so much to have a happy marriage.

      • Sasanka

        My abuser also, usually out of the blue, made these comments about how he hates men who abuse women! It did give me a pause. I thought why he would have a need to say this…but I brushed it off trying to convince myself it was a good thing.
        He, as well as his father and brother treated the mother as a servant very often. Definitely very patriarchal attitude. I didn’t like the dynamics, but attributed this to their cultural background. I naively assumed he knows I’m a westerner and we will have a different dynamics, we will be equal partners. Besides the treated me well before marriage. There were red flags though I chose to ignore.

      • thepooh62

        Mine also appears to have an issue with physical abuse against women…he even related to me how he fought off his father to protect his mother when his dad was beating her.

        His problem is, he doesn’t see anything but physical battering, as abuse. 😦

        I would also like to mention, one red flag is how some men so easily delight to call woman “whores,” “sluts,” and other demeaning terms, even if the woman has done nothing. I got called something nasty just 4 months into my “marriage,” simply because he was mad.

        He’s also referred to a co-worker who, after some ungodly behavior, has now repented and reconciled with her spouse: “once a whore, always a whore.” What a contrast to Jesus’ response to the woman in John chapter 8.

        I wonder why these same men don’t have nasty things to say about other men, especially when they do something ungodly? And how would he feel if I taunted him with, “Once a porn addict, always a porn addict”?

    • sunangel3

      I agree. How they feel about/treat other women in their life. I recall being with mine when he went to pick up his son from his ex wife. He would be very nasty to her and argumentative. Even calling her as he drove away so he could cuss her out some more. I remember thinking it was a bit much and unnecessary but somehow i never thought he would end up treating me the same way. It took a few years, but he finally did and once he got started treating me like that he never stopped. Even years after i left him. She never got remarried or even dated. Of course he would say its because nobody can replace his greatness (narcissism) or the women are so flawed nobody wants to be with them. I now fully understand why shes single and that, combined with his hate for his mother and nothing good to say about any female, is a red flag.

      I was also constantly not allowed to feel or told how i feel. Ive been single for two years now and nothing on my horizon. I know i would flip out on someone if i felt the slightest bit of control or even suggestion at what i should do with anything. Im determined never to live that way again and will gladly stay single.

      • thepooh62

        I agree, Sunangel…I have been with my abuser since age 19, but don’t see a way out just yet. I worked in a factory at that age, and ironically sat right next to his ex-girlfriend’s best friend. All those years ago, she warned me not to marry him, that he was messed up, that he’d treated his ex like (bleep), which of course, he denied. I foolishly wouldn’t heed her advice. I admit, I’ve brought this up to him from time to time…he always crows that his ex is “mentally ill” (the poor woman actually did wind up with mental health issues, but I wonder why?). Supposedly that gives her no validation, at least in HIS eyes. 😦

        It’s always the woman’s fault according to them, isn’t it?

        I’m always told how I feel, too, and my motives interpreted, as well.

        I’m glad you made it out safely…

      • Fiona

        Thank you both for replying to me and sharing your stories, you have no idea how much your stories give me (and I am sure others) courage. I am going to look for Lundy’s book and read it, it sounds like a valuable read. I have been reading “When Men Batter Women” by Jacobson and Gottman for insights but feel its a little bit outdated (1984) and this is something that needs to be revisited!

      • Yeah Fiona, I read that book by Jacobson and Gottman quite a while ago. I can’t remember it giving me really big epiphanies. I think it was okay, but not nearly nearly as good as Lundy’s book.

        When you read Lundy, I suggest you don’t use a highlighter, or you may find yourself highlighting almost all the text!

  9. thepooh62

    Thank you, Barbara! I’m not sure what your e-mail address is, but if you can get it to me somehow, I would love that book. I can send a money order to you for the cost. My sister is a Christian and also knows what’s going on…I’m sure she would let me send the book to her house. So grateful that others understand and care…

    • My email address is barbara@notunderbondage.com

      And btw, the email addresses of most of our team can be found if you click on the ABOUT tab in the top menu. 🙂

      • thepooh62

        Thank you! Have sent you an e-mail…

  10. HisBannerOverMeIsLove

    Telling you what you are thinking, what you were thinking, or what your motive was/is. And normally the thought or motive identified is not a good one! “You did that because you were angry at her.” “You totally ignored that person when they were trying to get your attention.” “You said that the reason you did such and such was ________, but I know that you really did it because _________.” Reject this kind of thing. “You cannot read my mind and you do not know the motives of my heart. Do not make those kind of accusations to me again. I will not permit you to do so.”

    #1-Constantly!!!!!!! I’ve begun to say things like…you can’t know that, I said nothing like that, you are putting words in my mouth. You can’t read my mind. When I’ve questioned something he said or did he responds with something to the effect of…right because I’m a monster or evil man or similar things.

    #3 but not how you said here….it seems more covertly done. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there different. Clear as mud,lol

    #4 This one makes me crazy. Counselors say it’s hard to know who to believe because we both tell a different story.(this is ammo for him to me later, because all he has to say is we approach things different. We look at it from completely different ways etc) All he has to say is THAT NEVER HAPPENED! Or Or fine, “I’m evil” as if I accused him of being evil. Putting words in my Mouth! Then I’m blamed and accused of making things up, twisting it, taking it out of context, just wanting to fight for the purpose of being contentious. EXHAUSTING

    #5 He does this and claims I do this by saying something like…You must be right because you(meaning me) are NEVER wrong.

    #6- I feel I do this now after reading the book. I guess I thought I was setting the record straight?

    #7- I’m guilty of this. When the past shows up in the present. Then I’m in sin for not letting it go.

    #8- I’m accused of this one too. All I have to ask is what did you think of the sermon? Instantly he guesses he’s evil.

    #9-I know I had warped views of rolls myself.

    #10-I have been shocked by others perception of me or us. I’m usually pretty positive because I feel like it but I do have this darkness in my life that is in the back of my mind that never really goes away. So I’ve been shocked that others “had no idea” or “say such a great family. Then I feel mental. Mental because my h thinks I make more out of everything than it is. But I remember the not so long ago time of being YELLED at. He claims you were too. We both were. But I wasn’t name calling. Oh you were too. And so he says mine is packaged nicer than his but it’s the same.

    **So I get frustrated with being screamed at and raise my voice over his saying stop it! Stop it! This is hateful!!!! And he claims I called him names (hateful is slinging mud at him now) and I am yelling just LIKE him. **
    I can smile on the worst of days after a while. Not faking it just glad to be around other people and forget for a while the turmoil. Is that faking it? Survival? And if I am crying or upset people just avoid you and honestly don’t really want to hear it. I don’t know what to do and in 30 seconds to however long they listen they can’t fix it either. Why make everyone around you miserable??

  11. Finding Answers

    Pastor Jeff wrote 9. If they are a man, they will often evidence a mentality that men are inherently superior to women. This attitude will often come across as supposed “humor,” but we must reject it as not being funny at all. At other times, if the abuser is a professing Christian, watch for warped views on roles in marriage.

    Amen.

    Of all the points, this one resonated with me the strongest. Not because the other points didn’t manifest, but this type of humour is not the sole property of men. Women. Children. Age merely gives room for the possibility of greater sophistication or subtlety in humour.

    Listen to the “humour” found in popular culture. TV. Magazines. ‘C’hurches. Workplaces. You name it. Put downs, condescension, power over…and people laugh. (Although not all are genuinely laughing.)

    When humour is similarly applied to men, there tends to be less genuine laughter. The comic is called derogatory names, is considered the one at fault, ridiculed for being a “man-hater”. The comic’s gender is irrelevant.

    Unfortunately, the widespread use and acceptance of disparaging humour can cloak who is the abuser.

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